A campaign has started to call on Swindon Council and GLL (Greenwich Leisure) to retain the West Swindon library in its current location at the Link Centre.
Following Swindon Council agreeing to transfer its leisure facilities to GLL on a long term lease, GLL have told the Council that they intend to move the West Swindon library to upstairs in the Link Centre in order for them to put a gym in the library’s current prominent location. GLL are set to be transferred the Link Centre in November.
A petition has already started calling on West Swindon Library not to be moved and it has already gained support on social media of local library campaigner Shirley Burnham and Malorie Blackman, the UK’s Children Laureate. The petition reads:
“We demand that the West Swindon Library is not moved. We want the Library to stay in a key location where it is highly visible to the people of West Swindon, as it is a vital community resource.”
Jim Robbins, Ward Councillor for Mannington & Western ward which borders the Link Centre, is leading the campaign. He said:
“I wanted to start this campaign after I heard that GLL planned to move the West Swindon library from its prominent location in the Link Centre to the top floor. I think this is a backward step for the local community as the library is really a flagship library for the town and is really well used by people of all ages in the West Swindon area.
Lots of community groups also use the library and it hosts the West Swindon Locality Meetings, so it really is at the heart of the community. If the library is to remain at the heart of the community then it needs to be as accessible as possible, and I don’t believe it will be if it moves upstairs making it challenging for the elderly and disabled to get in to.
I know that GLL, a Trust that originated from a local authority, prides itself in working with local communities so I hope that if enough people show the value of the library in its current location, this will ensure they rethink their plans. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to make decisions that is opposed by large sections on the community as these are their potential customers.”
Councillor Jim Robbins
Mannington & Western Councillor and Labour Shadow Lead for Leisure, Culture & Libraries